College placed in limited statutory management

St Peter's College

St Peter’s College in Gore has been placed in limited statutory management. The move “in no way suggests closure,” the Education Ministry says.

The state-integrated year 7 to 15 co-educational Catholic school has about 450 pupils.

Ministry of Education leader for the South, Nancy Bell, directed a limited statutory manager’s (LSM) appointment on 5 April.

She says the school’s board of trustees had sought support with governing the school, but did not enlarge on what the issues were.

Timaru lawyer Nicola Hornsey has been appointed as limited statutory manager. She will begin her duties in mid-May.

In a memo to St Peter’s College community before Easter, Hornsey explained the school board had asked the Ministry of Education for support with school governance.

“Despite the title, I work at board level. The day-to-day operations of the school are managed by the principal and her senior leadership team,” Hornsey’s memo says.

She says she has worked as a lawyer with a number of schools throughout the South Island over the years.

“The first stage of the intervention involves getting to know the school,” she says.

Hornsey has the powers and duties as an employer to establish policies and procedures, to manage the curriculum, including teaching and assessment practice, and to support the special character of the school.

She will also advise the school’s board on communication and financial operations.

Until Hornsey is able to take up her new role, Dunedin school governance consultant Cleave Hay had been liaising with the board.

Hay has been “assisting and doing some initial scoping interviews,” he says.

Bell says while most schools operated successfully, a small number needed outside help to resolve concerns.

“In these situations, we are available to step in with the appropriate supports and expertise, allowing the school to focus on teaching and learning.

“The aim of any intervention is always to return the school to full self-management as soon as the recommendations of the intervention have been met,” she says.

Neither presiding board manager Ruth Mitchell nor principal Tara Quinney were willing to comment to media, referring enquiries to Hay for comment.


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